|Serge Ibaka will be with the Thunder for a while longer. (Getty Images)|
The Oklahoma City Thunder have flourished with players on rookie contracts giving them flexibility for the future. It would appear that flexibility is about to be put to good use. After giving max extensions to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the next two players on the Thunder' list were James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have reached an agreement with Serge Ibaka on a multi-year extension, the team announced Saturday. According to Yahoo Sports, it's for four years, $48 million.
The effects of the extension are wide, but unclear. It means that Durant and Westbrook are joined by the player who ranked second in Defensive Player of the Year votes and a player whose ability to stretch the floor as a drop-off jump shooter in the Western Conference Finals sent the Thunder to the NBA Finals as West champs. It means that OKC has put a major amount of support behind Ibaka, who is not of the same caliber as Harden.
What it does not do, under any circumstances, is clear up the future of James Harden. There's been rampant speculation about the possiblity of Harden being moved by the Thunder in a determination of his impact on the cap and tax being too great. But until his contract situation is resolved, sometime betwen now and the middle of July in 2013, we won't know for certain.
Thunder owner Clay Bennett may decide to just extend Harden at the max, or re-sign him for the same in free agency and carry the burden of the luxury tax implications. The decision will be the Thunder's, ever decision thereafter will be a result of that choice.
For now, though, Ibaka has a home in Oklahoma City for the next four seasons. We'll keep you upated on contract figures and fallout from the extension.